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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Richard Harrington: So I think we have pretty established that there is lots of different ways to getting good audio, and that the built-in mic in the camera is pretty anemic. Robbie Carman: Yeah, not so good. Richard Harrington: Now I like to have the flexibility for running and gunning to get good audio still into the camera, as well as have better reference sound, and to do that I like to use an attached shotgun mic. Now you use the same thing. What are your reasons? Robbie Carman: Well, there are a couple of reasons actually, and this is what you are talking about. This is a little attached shotgun microphone. This one is made by a company called RODE, but there is lots of other manufacturers that make them.
This one is sort of a DSLR specific model, not because of the actual shotgun and the windscreen, but really because of this guy. It outputs directly to a little 1/8th inch stereo jack, so I can plug it directly into the camera and it has a little hot shoe adapter here, so I can simply just slide it right on to the top of my camera just like that. Richard Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: And this is really nice because in a run-and-gun situation, you are doing documentary work or you are doing like you know maybe you are a sports reporter and you are getting interviews after a game or something like that, instead of having to have a complicated dual system or recording setup with a separate digital audio recorder, you get a nice little on camera microphone.
And then if you've ever done any broadcast work or see any sort of bigger broadcast camera in play, all of them have a little shotgun mics. Richard Harrington: Right. Robbie Carman: And this is great. The other reason that I love to have an attached microphone like this, is in fact when I am doing a dual system workflow, where I am recording to say a digital audio recorder like this. Richard Harrington: Right, we might be in a place where we are using a larger--a boom poll mic to get right over the action and get better dialogue. Robbie Carman: Right, so you might have this shotgun attached to via XLR to your digital audio recorder, and this is going to be your principle method of recording audio.
Richard Harrington: Yeah, using a boom pole or perhaps it's a Lavalier microphone pinned on your subject like how you are wearing a lav today. Robbie Carman: Exactly! but the reason I want to have this better attached microphone is because when we get into post production we want to be able to compare the audio from our camera, what we refer to as a reference audio, with the high quality audio that's recorded on the digital audio recorder. And if I am just using that little built-in mic, and we talked about this previously, the four little pin pricks in the plastic here. Richard Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: I am probably not going to get good reference audio.
But when I have an attached microphone like this I am going to get much better reference audio. In fact Rich, there is pieces of software out there like PluralEyes and DualEyes, and some of the editorial tools can do this natively now, where they can automatically synch your reference audio and your high quality audio. And the quality of that reference audio makes all the difference in the world for how good that synching process is going to work. Richard Harrington: Yeah to break that down for you guys, the idea here is that you actually have decent audio recorded by the camera, but it may sound hollow because the microphone is so far away.
As a general rule of thumb, unless the mic has a really good pick up pattern, you are dealing with wanting to keep the mic about this far away from your subject's mouth, like there is Rob's lav and it's about that far from his mouth. Same with mine. It gets better audio. If we had the boom mic overhead it might just be out of the frame, it will be hung above him pointed towards his mouth. Lots of different strategies. Well, that audio, no matter what you do is going to still sound better than that audio. But because the camera is getting such good reference audio we could take advantage of automated software that will analyze the waveforms on both tracks and go, oh these waveforms look similar enough and it will shift it and line it up, or even create entirely new clips where the old, bad or hollow audio is stripped off and your better audio is swapped in place.
So this works great, so if you are doing editorial, tools like PluralEyes work great in Premiere Pro, Vegas, Avid, Final Cut Pro and Final Cut X. And then other tools allow you to do it right within the editing application with built-in stuff, or if you are a standalone shooter and need to hand your footage off to other folks, tools like DualEyes will create new self-contained clips. So that reference mic just really is the key ingredient to a better post production workflow, because it gives you an audio source that you can feel confident using.
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